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Why You Should Provide Great Training at Your Franchise Convention

Evan Hackel

Your convention is a great place to train current franchisees and onboard new ones too.

Everyone in your organization – or most of them – are in one place at one time, which offers you a significant opportunity to educate them effectively, consistently, and compellingly. Yet what kind of training should you provide? And how should you deliver it?

Those are critical questions. Let’s take a closer look.

Motivate Your Owners and Fire Them Up to Succeed

You have concrete skills that you would like to teach everyone, of course. And it is important to cover them at your franchise conference. At the same time, it would be a mistake to cover only “hard skills” and tasks, while ignoring entirely the opportunity to get your franchisees excited and motivated to succeed.

Many training opportunities offer a chance to motivate and inspire your franchise owners, at your annual franchise conference, including:

Inspiring keynotes and speeches given by exciting motivational speakers. The right keynote from the right speaker can energize your attendees right at the start of your convention. The result can be that they will be more motivated to learn what you want them to . . . and more likely to apply what they learned after your convention is over. When selecting a keynoter, keep these considerations in mind:

  • The keynote speaker should have a message and a personality that “fit” in your industry and resonate with your owners. You should stop and think carefully as you consider which speakers to use. Even some good-looking, experienced speaker might not be right for all your franchisees. At one franchise conference a few years ago, for example, the keynoter was a well-known football coach whose energetic talk fell short with the 50% of the franchisees who were not sports fans. So as you watch videos of speakers you are considering, keep asking, “Is this right for our audience?” Another approach is to send your franchisees links to videos from the speakers you are considering, and to invite them to vote on whom they will hear.
  • Consider having your founder, CEO or another one of your top executives offer the keynote or lead key sessions. Do this only if he or she is a strong speaker who is able to make a compelling presentation. But if one member of your top team fills the bill regarding those skills, he or she could be a great choice to fire up your people and get them motivated.
  • Have your most enthusiastic and successful franchise owners give a panel presentation and tell their success stories. If they are fired up about being part of your family, they will inspire your other franchisees too.

Teach Current and New Owners about Your Brand

In training sessions, let people know who your company is and how you go about doing business. In other words, train them to understand that they are part of an important brand that lends value to their businesses. Some ways to present your brand include:

  • Show videos about your company that tell your story. These videos could tell the story of the individual who founded your company, the history of the product or service that built your success, which profile your owners, employees and most important customers.
  • Have interactive training sessions where your franchisees discuss what your brand is, and what it means to your customers. Your convention is a place where teams are born – teams that are made up of strong brand champions and ambassadors. Be sure to take advantage of this valuable, once-a-year opportunity.

Train Your People on Your Franchise Manual and System

Ample research has shown that when the majority of franchisees adhere closely to the instructions and systems that are laid out in their franchise’s operations manual, that franchise becomes impressively more successful and profitable. When individual franchisees go their own way, the integrity of the brand suffers, for reasons like these:

  • Customers don’t know exactly what they can expect when they visit different locations.
  • Individual franchisees use different vendors and even sell different products, which creates a situation that is difficult for the parent franchisor to control.
  • Signage and displays are not used uniformly throughout the company, which can affect sales and the core business proposition.

Your convention offers an opportunity to prevent issues like those. In presentations, be sure to explain not only what rules franchisees are expected to follow, but why. When they come to view your manual and required activities as opportunities to sell more and increase profits, your entire franchise will benefit and become more profitable.

Train Your Franchisees on Key Functions

If you are currently using unified Point of Sale (POS) systems, for example, your convention offers an ideal setting to train people how to use them. The same is true if you want all your franchisees to use company displays and signage properly.

And then there are other key functions you should provide training for, depending on what services or products your franchise provides:

  • If you sell food or beverages, you can train your franchisees to observe proper protocols for food preparation, storage, and maintenance of food preparation areas.
  • If you provide cleaning services or smoke remediation, you can offer training on how business should be done.
  • If you are an automotive service franchise, you can offer training on how to write service orders, how to upsell customers to higher-end tires and components, and more.
  • If you are a painting franchise, you can offer training on how to prepare homes to be painted, how to remediate mold in interior areas, and other critical skills.

Remember that the vendors you use – the companies from which you buy the food you sell, the paint and cleaning products you use and other key supplies – are often able to provide presentations and training on how to use their products. And if you invite them to do so, the training they provide will be free.

Give Sales and Customer Service Training

No matter what business you are in, you are selling something, and you need to please customers.

Because these are two fertile areas for improvement in any franchise, consider offering focused training at your conference that can improve them.

Offer Onboarding Training

If you brought new franchisees into your franchise family in the last year, your annual conference is the ideal place to offer them special onboarding programs. You don’t need to travel to visit them or have them visit your home office. Simply plan an afternoon of onboarding training on your key systems, bookkeeping protocols, HR basics and other fundamentals.

Introduce Distributed Training Programs at Your Conference

Do you offer training that your franchisees and their employees can take on their smartphones, tablets or other devices? If you do, how many of your people are using it? Your conference is a great setting to train everyone in your organization how to access and make the best use of the mobile training you offer.

Teach Your Franchisees to Use Your Learning Management System (LMS) If You Have One

Many companies today use sophisticated Learning Management Systems to track the training they provide. These systems allow companies to know how many employees have enrolled in training programs, how many have completed the programs they started, and more.

If you are currently using one of these programs, your annual conference offers the opportunity to train your owners how to use it. Just one training session can increase the number of locations that use your LMS.

Offer Informational Presentations on Real Estate and Insurance

These are core concerns for your franchisees! The good news is, real estate experts and insurance agents will often be willing to deliver talks at no charge for your franchise owners. Why? Because they might welcome business that your franchisees will bring to them.

Also Consider Giving Seminars on Accounting and Tax Law

If your franchise system uses a platform that tracks your franchisees’ finances, you might not need to offer sessions on these topics. But if your franchisees are responsible for keeping their own books and preparing their own tax returns, informational sessions on these topics could be of great value to them.

In Summary:

If you want your annual conference to result in system-wide improvements that boost profits, result in happier franchisees, and more, the message is simple. Use your conference as a place to provide thoughtful and high-quality training experiences.